My alarm rings for work and I hit the snooze button to sleep for another 10 minutes. I do this three times before realising that I am going to be late for work if I do not get out of bed.
The reason for hitting the snooze button so many times is not because I worked late the previous night. Quite the opposite. I was watching Netflix until 2am to just “finish this series” before I went to bed.
Those of us who love watching TV series have all done that at one point in our lives with instant on-demand video streaming.
Sometimes I really wish that I do not need 8-9 hours of sleep to feel rested. I do not understand how some people can do 4 hours a night and be well rested and be normal throughout the day.
To make up for my sleep deficit, I would generally sleep earlier the following night or “hold out” for the rest of the week until a Saturday morning where I can sleep in until 11am.
Is this sustainable? Probably not.
A rhythmic rest
It is December and I am eagerly waiting for the week between Christmas and New Year’s because work has a compulsory shut down period meaning I can (if I choose to) sleep in every day!
December is a joyous month for many around the world as people, religious or not, celebrate Christmas. With school holidays and at least three public holidays in the space of one week, many take this time off to spend time with family, travel or rest in preparation for the New Year.
Reflecting on this has helped me to understand that rest is not simply “let’s take a break from things here and there” but rather something that is intentional and purposeful.
It needs to be disciplined and perhaps consistently timed or otherwise we may find ourselves too tired, burned out or feeling lethargic all the time. In turn, different people will have different ways of finding rest.
Currently, a structure that works for me is aiming to not place any weekly commitments on Saturdays so that if I had a long week at work, I can sleep in and even spend the time at home to read or relax. In terms of taking leave and resting consecutive days from daily schedules, I have not yet worked out a rhythm for myself.
When I look at my friends, I have some who would take a yearly holiday and travel (whether within Australia or overseas) in order to either spend 1-2 weeks with themselves or away from everyday life in order to recharge. Others may work for a couple of years straight and afterwards take months off for a large holiday or sabbatical period.
I have also other friends who will take leave ad hoc after a busy period at work to rest. Sometimes, this might actually be made compulsory by employers in order to keep employees healthy, especially when it comes to shift work or mining.
Many of our national public holidays have a reason behind it in order for us to spend time to remember and reflect.
As our nation has Christian roots, we are blessed to have public holidays for major Christian festivals such as Christmas and Easter. The public holidays give both the religious and non-religious to either rest or use that free time to reflect and acknowledge the reason for the season.
For example, on ANZAC Day, as opposed to taking the first flight out of Sydney to an overseas holiday destination, it may be appropriate for us instead to attend a Dawn Service or ANZAC march in remembrance and thanksgiving to those who have and are serving in our defence forces and emergency services.
For a public holiday such as Christmas or Easter, it is quite normal for a non-Christian to attend a church service during Christmas or Easter to hear about God before going about their public holiday. Those days are likely to have services that are attended by the most number of non-religious people.
This concept is also not foreign from the Bible where in the Old Testament in the book of Leviticus, God would instruct Israel about certain feasts and festivals they were to observe and to not work on those special days. These feasts (such as the Passover) would be related to the amazing works that God has done for Israel in its early history.
Israel would rest on those days in order to focus on worshipping God and to not be distracted by the busyness of life. Perhaps this is something we need to remind ourselves whenever there are a lot of public holidays lined up.
How do we rest?
Given the need for discipline to rest, perhaps this Christmas holiday we should take some time to reflect on how we can keep ourselves well rested through a series of small consistent habits with large periodic breaks depending on your circumstances. In turn, we should also think through whether we want to observe the holidays that our nation has for a public holiday or to just treat them as days off.
For me personally, I need to work on proper discipline of bed time so as to not watch Netflix until 2am when I know that I have (or do not have) work the next day. I also will need to think through if I need to take a larger periodic break such as a one week break every half year.
Brandon Tsang’s previous articles may be viewed at
Brandon Tsang is a Sydney-based writer currently working in IT. He studied Marketing and Economics at UNSW and loves to spend his spare time hiking, playing volleyball or watching Netflix.
Brandon Tsang’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/brandon-tsang.html